2001 Toyota Matrix
2001 Toyota MatrixEnlarge Photo
TOYOTA HOOKS INTO MATRIX. Toyota introduced the Matrix, a sporty crossover vehicle codeveloped with General Motors and meant to fill a new segment for young people who value style and want the utility of SUVs without the truck feel or off-road ability. The Matrix shares its layout and mechanical componentry with the Pontiac Vibe, which was introduced earlier in the day at the show. Matrix will go on sale about a year from now, at "an affordable price," according to Toyota vice president and general manager Don Esmond. Matrix is the latest in a string of new "something for everyone" Toyota products aimed at every market segment. The Matrix (and the Vibe) will share its platform with the Toyota Corolla. Base models will have a 130-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with variable valve timing, while a sport model will get a 180-hp 1.8-liter engine borrowed from the Celica GT-S. Both front and four-wheel-drive versions will be available. Matrix will be built in Cambridge, Ontario.
BMW X Coupe Concept
BMW X Coupe ConceptEnlarge Photo
X MARKS THE BIMMER. BMW's funky X coupe, a radical combination of rugged outdoor utility wagon and enthusiasts' sports coupe gathered much attention on the stand. Said to be an evolution of the earlier Z9 concept car, the X coupe's unique curves were sculpted in the form of flames. An asymmetrical rear hatch that hinges in the rear allows the X coupe to offer a unique driving space and control console that's especially roomy for the driver, and flexible space to the right and behind, amounting to a sort of 1+3 arrangement. The center console controller contains all peripheral controls for the driver. Following from the similarly named X5, the X coupe has all-wheel drive for when the going gets tough. The X coupe is powered by a 184-hp, 3.0-liter six-cylinder turbodiesel engine, combined with a Steptronic automatic, stability control system, and Hill Descent Control.
2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser
2001 Chrysler PT CruiserEnlarge Photo
CRUISER, MDX CARS OF THE YEAR. The North American Car of the year jury, of which TCC publisher TCC Team is a member, has named the Chrysler PT Cruiser and Acura MDX its Car and Truck of the year, respectively. “This is a great way to start the year,” said Dick Schaum, product development director for the Chrysler Group. “Everyone knows we’re in need of good news.” For Honda executive vice president Tom Elliott, the award “means we’ve made a lot of progress,” since Honda began building its own trucks only seven years ago. The awards are given annually at the Detroit show, and are voted on by a pool of 50 automotive journalists. Other finalists in the car category included the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight gas-electric hybrids; other truck runners-up included the Ford Escape and Toyota Sequoia.
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